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The Cabin in the Woods


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#81 Thom Wade

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:35 AM

How many A&F Top 100 horror films did they reference? I'm willing to wager less than 10%, if any.


BTW, considering that 15 of the top 25 are from before 1970...the chances that a film that is partially an homage to horror from the 70's on (as well as a critique of modern horror like Saw) is going to reference many of the films from that list.

#82 Nick Alexander

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:18 AM

That's precisely my point: it cannot simultaneously be an homage to those horror films that have a starting date--i.e. were made post-"Halloween" and onwards, ...AND... have these "gods" demanding a sacrifice of at least four archetypes annually from the beginning of time. Pick one or the other.

(It boggles my mind that this very well could have been fixed w some overdubbing and clever editing in post-production... and yet this film sat in the vaults, untouched, for three full years. )

#83 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:56 AM

That's precisely my point: it cannot simultaneously be an homage to those horror films that have a starting date--i.e. were made post-"Halloween" and onwards, ...AND... have these "gods" demanding a sacrifice of at least four archetypes annually from the beginning of time. Pick one or the other.

If you're thinking too hard about it, sure. But given that the "gods" reference is just a big gag in and of itself--a play off of Lovecraftian horror, ala Cthulhu--I'm not inclined to press it too hard. Everything in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS emphasizes laughs over logic. And that's fine.

#84 Thom Wade

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

That's precisely my point: it cannot simultaneously be an homage to those horror films that have a starting date--i.e. were made post-"Halloween" and onwards, ...AND... have these "gods" demanding a sacrifice of at least four archetypes annually from the beginning of time. Pick one or the other.


But your assumption is that this was how it always was. According to the film there was a time when it was as simple as "toss virgin in volcano." It *evolved* into this. As the film critiques "the escalation effect", this makes total sense. People adjust and it takes more to excite or satify the audience. After a time, the volcano was not effective and through the centuries they evolved picking up new rituals and requirements as well as adjusting what was there.

I would note that a lot of horror films have scholars/fools/etc before the rise of the slasher films...heck the whole science gone awry genre of sci-fi and horror is focused primarily on scholars and fools.

Edited by Nezpop, 19 April 2012 - 09:25 AM.


#85 Overstreet

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:44 AM

Since the horror movies that Cabin spoofs and celebrates have almost always been characterized by ridiculous plot lines, have often been guilty of shoddy world-building, and have frequently been obsessed with "ancient rituals", everything folks are complaining about here actually contributed to my enjoyment of the film. This may well end up a top 10 pick for me this year. I can't wait to see it again.

#86 Nick Alexander

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:57 AM

Nezpop--Not every horror film has a death scene (ritual sacrifice). Off the top of my head: Freaks, Rosemary's Baby, and the atrocious "Camp Hell."

Overstreet--Parodying shoddy storytelling would have been okay if the movie also contained at least one scary scene.

#87 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:59 AM

Overstreet--Parodying shoddy storytelling would have been okay if the movie also contained at least one scary scene.

Um, why?

#88 Nick Alexander

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:06 AM

Ryan--because that's the modus operandi of horror movies.

Shaun Of the Dead parodied zombie gorefests, but didn't skimp on (at least one) effective gore sequence. Galaxy Quest parodied Star Trek, but also immersed itself in a story worthy of a Star Trek episode. Airplane! parodied air disaster movies, but had a real threat that created (at least a minimum) of tension. I can go on.

#89 Overstreet

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:14 AM

Maybe it's just that I rarely find horror movies... at least the campy, silly ones that this film parodies... very scary. It seemed to fit right in with the Friday the 13th/Halloween flicks I remember from growing up. The truly disturbing and frightening movies I can think of are a different breed than what this movie is after.

Edited by Overstreet, 19 April 2012 - 10:14 AM.


#90 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:14 AM

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS does well enough with creating scenes that individually could have come out of any other run-of-the-mill horror flick. In context, they're not particularly scary, privileging violence over suspense and paranoia, but really, the majority of horror films aren't that scary, either, especially when we're looking at the slasher subgenre, which is the genre THE CABIN IN THE WOODS puts directly in its sights.

Edited by Ryan H., 19 April 2012 - 10:15 AM.


#91 Nick Alexander

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:20 AM

My all time personal favorite horror movie ("Halloween (1978)") just so happens to be the defining film in this very subgenre. So there's that.

#92 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:23 AM

I love HALLOWEEN, but I've never found it scary.

#93 Christian

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:26 AM

Maybe it's just that I rarely find horror movies... at least the campy, silly ones that this film parodies... very scary. It seemed to fit right in with the Friday the 13th/Halloween flicks I remember from growing up. The truly disturbing and frightening movies I can think of are a different breed than what this movie is after.

I'm hesitant to wade in here because I haven't seen the movie, but the reviews I've read reference Scream often. And that movie had some genuine scares, even as it sent up the slasher genre.

#94 Nick Alexander

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:28 AM

I still find it scary.

Of course it should be mentioned that the obvious reference is The Evil Dead (1 & 2), the second one delivering more laughs than scares, admittedly, but also some authentically cringeworthy moments. Again, CitW comes up short here.

#95 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:33 AM


Maybe it's just that I rarely find horror movies... at least the campy, silly ones that this film parodies... very scary. It seemed to fit right in with the Friday the 13th/Halloween flicks I remember from growing up. The truly disturbing and frightening movies I can think of are a different breed than what this movie is after.

I'm hesitant to wade in here because I haven't seen the movie, but the reviews I've read reference Scream often. And that movie had some genuine scares, even as it sent up the slasher genre.

But THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is an overt comedy, something SCREAM isn't.

#96 Nick Alexander

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

Ryan--tell that to their marketing department.

#97 Ryan H.

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

Ryan--tell that to their marketing department.

Oh, I wish I could.

#98 Attica

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:30 AM

Overstreet said:


:Since the horror movies that Cabin spoofs and celebrates have almost always been characterized by ridiculous plot lines, have often been guilty of shoddy world-building, and have frequently been obsessed with "ancient rituals", everything folks are complaining about here actually contributed to my enjoyment of the film. This may well end up a top 10 pick for me this year. I can't wait to see it again.




Sure. They knew what they were doing. Every element fit in with movies that it's spoofing, including the fact that it doesn't do much to reference movies pre-80's. Even a lot of the pre-80's horror movies wouldn't have been all that worried about having their history right on target. The chamber with the blood (from who knows where) moving into the heiroglyphics doesn't make any sense, but there are thousands of horror movies (and movies in other genres as well) that have set designs that would be similarly non-sensical...... but they look cool, and add atmosphere so the filmmakers unapologetically put them in the film.






Nick Alexander wrote:


:Shaun Of the Dead parodied zombie gorefests, but didn't skimp on (at least one) effective gore sequence. Galaxy Quest parodied Star Trek, but also immersed itself in a story worthy of a Star Trek episode. Airplane! parodied air disaster movies, but had a real threat that created (at least a minimum) of tension. I can go on.




I'm with the others in that I don't find most horror movies that scary other than a few jumps here and there that I get an enjoyment from rather than a continuing dread. The Cabin in the Woods plays on this as well, mostly in the last act. They add in the gore and horrible monsters, and then they play on the fact that many genre films up the bloodbath in order to try and scare us. But what this film does, is make it's last act so bloody and full of gore and a gazillion scary monsters, that it starts to move beyond disturbing to being funny. They push it so over the top that we start to see what their getting at, being that a lot of films in the genre's over the top attempts to be scary and disturbing, can really be kind of silly and actually take away from the scariness. That's their point.

A movie like Shaun of the Dead was riffing on the Zombie movie in a creative way, this film is in part trying to make us laugh, but it's also wants us to see things that Shaun of the Dead wasn't attempting to get at. This movie is coming out of a love for the horror genre but it's also coming out of a realization that there are a lot of things in the genre that are often really stupid. Some of the more stupid elements in the film are telling us that exact thing. Even the title for the film, at the start and the end, are a bit different stylistically from the rest of the film..... but for a reason, it's a little strange and dumb.... because that's the way a lot of horror movies are, and what a lot of their title sequences are like. It's all part of what this film is saying.

Edited by Attica, 19 April 2012 - 04:11 PM.


#99 Attica

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:44 AM

Peter T Chattaway said:

:Not to the same degree, though, I would argue. See J.R.R. Tolkien's point about the difference between "suspending disbelief" and "creating belief".


I'm going to have to ponder that over a bit.




:But there should at least be a sense that everything hangs together. That, The Cabin in the Woods does not have.



I dunno. I guess it comes down to the film we're seeing. It seems that a lot of people who've seen the film would probably agree with you in this, but I just didn't have that feeling. For me, considering what they were trying to riff on, the world in the film made perfect sense.




:No, but I think it's a mistake to say that religions have a lot of mystery so it's okay for this movie to have a lot of mystery. The whole point of a movie like this is the DEMYSTIFICATION of tropes or genres that have traditionally been treated with a certain kind of solemnity; even the classic horror B-movies had a certain seriousness about them that is undermined in this film by scenes like that one with the phonecall. The very banality of it all works against the idea that there is something "mysterious" here that we can never understand. (And you could even extend that notion of banality to the final, and exceedingly literalistic, shot.)


Yeah. For a film full of strange monsters, huge demigods, and advanced science there wasn't a whole lot of a sense of mystery or mystification, and the humour and themes in the film certainly were a part of this. The film did play on the "seriousness" of some of these films near the end when the dying control officer very seriously tells the "virgin" to kill the "fool" or the world would be in big trouble.








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Edited by Attica, 19 April 2012 - 12:23 PM.


#100 Nathaniel

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:42 PM

Heavy spoilers ahead!

I think Jeffrey's review aligns with my own view that the film is essentially apocalyptic. It engenders the sense that we're living close to the end, that human beings are so lacking in empathy for one other we might as well be wiped off the face of the earth. (But not, as the filmmakers suggest in a nihilistically Lovecraftian twist, at the hands of a holy God but a malign, blood-craving, not-necessarily-supernatural one.) There's also the interesting, only-hinted-at commentary on the demystification and mechanization of religion, represented by the two jokesters in the control room.

That said, I didn't really enjoy the film very much, and there could be several reasons why. For one, the movies that Goddard and Whedon poke fun at are not movies I typically enjoy, and their modus operandi (gore shots, shock cuts, loads of exposition) does not vary widely from those movies. Then, there are the aforementioned gaps in logic. (My biggie: how did they manage to capture and contain all those monsters, some of which appear to be non-material?) Lastly, there's the aesthetic contention that the comedy and horror elements somehow take away from each other, resulting in a film that is neither fish nor fowl (though definitely fishy and conceivably foul).

Edited by Nathaniel, 19 April 2012 - 01:14 PM.